Fan Art Profile: A Salute to the Heroines of the Inheritance Cycle

Fans of fantasy literature, and genre literature in general, are no strangers the various tropes and generalities often referenced when it comes to their favorite entertainment. One such trope that longtime followers of traditional fantasy and science fiction may have heard in the past is a lack of strong female lead characters with major impact on the climax of a story.

Fortunately for fans of the Inheritance Cycle, the diversity among the cast of primary characters is robust, and offers readers a variety of threads to follow for their favorite champions of Alagaësia.

While main male characters Eragon, Roran and Murtagh all have major roles in defeating Galbatorix and saving Alagaësia from certain doom, they would have never been able to accomplish such a feat without a few of their female contemporaries: Arya, Nasuada, Katrina and Angela.

Though these four characters have varying personalities, they all found ways to have similar impacts on the stories of Inheritance. All four women were at some point imprisoned by the Empire, but showed toughness and resolve to survive and rise above being contained. Arya and Nasuada both shouldered the burden of leading their people, (the elves and the Varden, respectively), while Angela and Katrina quite often served as beacons of light when times were at their darkest.

We now share with you a selection of hand drawn fan art from artist ElakuDark, found on Deviant Art entitled, “The Inheritance girls”.  This piece profiles the four main heroines of the Inheritance Cycle.  Arya, with her arms crossed and stoic demeanor, is a reminder of her constant dedication to protecting the realm.  Nasuada, with proud shoulders and bearing the bandaged proof of her ordeal with the Trial of the Long Knives while Katrina stands strong are both unwavering.  Finally, we mustn’t forget Angela, and though she is regularly enigmatic and radical she is also deadly, as her readied huthvir shows.

 

 

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Below we have a small section from the chapter “The Council of Elders” in Eldest, where Nasuada is appointed leader of the Varden, and her life changed forever:

“Nasuada, Daughter of Ajihad, the Council of Elders wishes to formally extend its deepest condolences for the loss you, more than anyone else, have suffered….”  In a lower voice, he added, “You have our personal sympathies as well.  We all know what it is like to have a family member killed by the Empire.”

“Thank you,” murmured Nasuada, lowering her almond eyes.  She sat, shy and demure, and with an air of vulnerability that made Eragon want to comfort her.  Her demeanor was tragically different from that of the energetic young woman who had visited him and Saphira in the dragonhold before the battle.

“Although this is your time for mourning, a quandary exists that you must resolve.  This council cannot lead the Varden.  And someone must replace your father after the funeral.  We ask that you receive the position.  As his heir, it is rightfully yours-the varden expect it of you.”

Nasuada bowed her head with shining eyes.  Grief was plain in her voice when she said, “I never thought I would be called upon to take my father’s place so young.  Yet…if you insist it is my duty…I will embrace the office.”

 

So now we ask: Which female Inheritance Cycle character is your favorite? Would you like to see a future story in Alagaesia from their point of view?

 

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A Toast to the Community! Brewfest Lore and Closing Ceremonies

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As October draws to a close, so does the inaugural celebration of the  Inheritance community’s first ever fan-created holiday, Alagaësia Brewfest! Uniting  all races of Alagaësia, Brewfest is a holiday centered around celebrating the closing of the Fall harvest, looking back on the year that was, and looking ahead to the future.

Inheritance fans and the Shur’tugal community successfully came together to develop some amazing content for this new Fall holiday.  From tasty treats and festive drinks to friendly yet intense games and ceremonies, there was fun to be had for all ages!

Christopher himself has added to Brewfest and its lore, today announcing:

In the ancient language [Brewfest is] called Agaetí Mierthra, the Mead Festival.

History

Shur’tugal commenter ‘Orik’ provided this fan fiction theory to the origins of Brewfest:

Winter raged on as it had for the past few months, it was then spring and there was no sign of it halting. Eventually the humans and Urgals would run out of firewood, the dwarves their Feldunost and the elves their trees.

It later came to the month called Disting (a Norse month that celebrates ‘The Festival of Idisis’) when the races decided to come together after much thought. They conversed via scrying (using magicians) and met at Ilirea where they decided to bring the best of their magicians to use many spells over the sky to force the storm back. Because of this the winter storm came to an end and the peoples of Alagaesia celebrated the month as ‘Brewfest’, together drinking and celebrating under one city . To this day the seas in the West remain cold and stormy.

Food and Drink

Part of every friendly holiday is having a great selection of festive food and beverages to help the celebration.  This year’s Brewfest saw several unique drinks and dishes make their way to the tables of the good folk of Alagaësia.  Hearty beers such as Palancar Pirate Pale Ale, The Black Cleaver, lightly flavored pumpkin spice Autumn ale and Dûrmgrimst Ingeitum Double Imperial Stout filled tankards and splashed about as mugs were raised in Dwarf inspired toasts.  Other, less “sturdy” beverages were enjoyed as well, including: Hadarac Spice Tea, Horst’s Apple Cider, Golden Dragon Nettle Honeytea, Frostbitten Faelnirv and Private Reserve Black Tea.  Revelers with a brave palette could sample the now infamous dwarven delight, Black Jelly (courtesy of Mr. TwelvePips):

The paste, black as ink, has the consistency of thick butter and the taste of pure salt. The dwarves spread it on thick bread, stuff it in pastries, or eat it on its own. Not for the weak of stomach. Oddly enough, it is loved by Urgals, when they can get their hands on it.

Games and Exhibitions

When not drinking or eating, many who celebrate Brewfest took part in several diversions that provided fun and creative ways to liven up the holiday.  One such event was the Barrel Full of Arrows archery competition, where Shur’tugal reader provided a fan fiction glimpse into the mind of an elven archer:

Akira the elf recounts his experience in the Barrel Full of Arrows competition:

I have traveled from Ellesmera with the other elves and have spent months preparing for the moment when the Barrel Full of Arrows contest begins. It is no surprise when my table elects me to be their representative archer, I am one of the most skilled archers in Ellesmera and have been firing arrows before I could walk. I move gracefully, my shimmering, silver hair falls perfectly down my back as I leave the table to take my position. Others around me have settled into position as well, and I can almost feel them breathing. Suddenly, there is a hush as the crowd of humans, elves, dwarves, Urgals and even a few werecats wait for us to start. I know the humans are nervously holding their breath, but not the elves. They have faith in me. Suddenly the gong rings, announcing the start of the competition. Instantly there is an arrow in my bow string and I let it fly. I’m nervous, and I can tell because the arrow just barely misses its target. Instantly I’m firing again and this time my arrow makes its mark. There’s cheering on all sides as archers’ arrows pierce barrels repeatedly and guests rush to the liquid flowing from the barrels. The sweet smell of Horst’s apple cider reaches my nose, but nothing can distract me now. I loose arrow after arrow until the barrel has been completely emptied. I raise my chin and survey those around me. Warm pride fills my heart, and my face is flushed with joy. I have won.

Other games included Kull Arm Wrestling, the Brewfest Cup and Elven Treeshaping.  Commenter Dee O’Bray helped develop Elven Treeshaping even further:

It would be an event that lasts 3-4 days. There would be no winner (in the same way there is no winner when every elf must make a bit of art for the blood-oath [celebration]) It would just be a way to celebrate the changing of the trees, and so many unique plants could be created with a bit of imagination, like tree branches which look like a Dragon when the leaves fall from it in [Autumn])

Closing ceremonies and the burning of the effigy

As Brewfest reaches its conclusion, merrymakers join together for the Closing Ceremonies of the celebration, culminating with the Burning of the Effigy.  (Credit to both Immanuela and Blanca Rodriguez Magem for lore inspiration)

As night descends into blackness, a crowd gathers in the town square, some still carrying their tankards after a satisfying feast.  It is the final night of Brewfest, and there is one last event to behold: the burning of the effigy.  Citizens of Alagaësia both young and old gaze up at a giant wooden avatar, a great beaked creature with menacing eyes.  Murmurs in the crowd identify the wooden effigy as a Ra’zac, a terrible creature that most have only heard of in legends passed along by the tongues of storytellers.  It is only fitting then when a hooded figure strides forward to the base of the effigy, revealing themselves as the weathered town bard.  In the bard’s hand is a torch, burning bright and illuminating his bearded visage.   The bard begins telling the crowd stories of the Ra’zac, recalling frightening tales of myth and terror while detailing the effigy as the representation of the past year’s demons and harsh times.  Laying the flaming torch at the base of the wooden Ra’zac, the bard declares that the demons will be burned away to make way for a prosperous new year.  As the towering effigy flares into a rumbling blaze, the Brewfest revelers raise their mugs and utter a resounding cheer.

Thank you to all who helped make Brewfest the first holiday of its kind here at Shur’tugal! What did you enjoy most from Brewfest? Do you have any thoughts for next year’s celebration? Let us know in the comments below!

 

 

which-character-shurtyHalloween is right around the corner and many Inheritance fans are eagerly looking to celebrate the holiday in style… dressed as their favorite character from the series! In our first article, we offered costume ideas for Eragon, Arya, Murtagh, Angela, and the dwarves! Today we’re offering more costume ideas covering the series’ dragons – Saphira, Firnen, Thorn, and Glaedr – both in human and dragon form (allowing some “creative freedom”), in addition to Urgal and Werecat costumes! Continue reading this article…

 

costumes headerHalloween is right around the corner and many Inheritance fans are eagerly looking to celebrate the holiday in style… dressed as their favorite character from the series! In the first of two posts, we’re offering full costume and prop ideas for Eragon, Arya, Murtagh, Angela, and the dwarves! These costumes are specifically designed to be cheap, easy to put together, and epic! Whether an awe-inspiring Dragon Rider or the serious Queen of the elves, we’ve got you covered. Continue reading this article…

 

pumpkin-carving-headerBring Alagaësia to life on a pumpkin! We want to see your pumpkin carving skills utilized to transform a pumpkin into a fearsome Thorn or elegant Saphira! To help with the process, we’ve created several stencils based off of the Inheritance Cycle dragons, the iconic “ERAGON” text, and the “E” symbol created to promote the Eragon movie.

You can use our pumpkin carving templates to get started. You’ll have two options: you can fully cut out the outline of the dragon, or you can use scraping techniques to create a carving the same type as shown in our example pumpkin photos.

Here are some steps to help you use the stencils to create your pumpkin:

Transferring the stencil

Print the stencil from your computer. Tape the stencil to your pumpkin, then transfer the stencil’s shape by poking small holes through the stencil’s design. Tools such as wooden skewers, nails, or any sharp, pointed object (be careful!) work best. Cheap pumpkin kits also offer similar tools and can be found at most stores during the holiday season. We recommend having two stencils printed, just in case the first one gets messy!

Completely carving your pumpkin

The easiest method to create your pumpkin is to simple carve the stencil out around the edges, leaving a large dragon-shaped hole at the front of your dragon. While epic, the scraping method will yield cooler, more interesting results (especially with the dragon stencils). We’re sure you don’t need any directions on carving your designs! Of course, don’t forget to “gut” your pumpkin before you start the carving process.

Scraping your pumpkin design

For a more elegant design as seen in the photos above and below, you’ll want to use a “scraping” technique to have several layers to your pumpkin, allowing light to shine through in various levels of brightness. To carve, use a tool that allows for scraping (wood carving tools, knives, screwdrivers, kitchen gadgets, or anything else that will let you peel away the pumpkin’s flesh will work!) and slowly peel away the pumpkin’s flesh in the areas designated by your stencil. Darker areas call for deeper peeling and allow more light through, whereas lighter areas will create a darker glow. Need more help? This Youtube video covers the shading techniques used for this kind of pumpkin carving!

Time to get started! You can download our stencils by clicking on the stencil thumbnail below (right click on the large image and select “Save as…” to download the stencil):

Looking for examples of how your pumpkin should turn out? Here’s a gallery of pumpkins readers have carved in the past!

We’ll be featuring any pumpkin submitted to us through social media (on Facebook or on Twitter) until Halloween! Shortly after Halloween, we’ll compile all of your pumpkin photos into one big post on Shur’tugal, where thousands of fans will see your hard work (with credit to you, of course!).

 

10-13favoritemomentsHave you read Eragon multiple times? Love talking obscure details and things you picked up on with your friends and in the community? Consider yourself one of the biggest Eragon buffs out there?

If you answered yes to any of those questions (and we imagine many of you did!), we’d love to have you contribute to our latest project: we are looking for the biggest Eragon fans out there to contribute their best pieces of trivia based on Eragon (we’ll be doing Eldest, Brisingr, and Inheritance at a later date).

Whether an obscure moment from the books, a “who said this quote?”, or anything else you can dream up, we’d love to hear what you have to offer! Don’t be afraid to submit more than one piece of trivia, but please try to do so all in the same comment. You can further help us by providing alternative answers for multiple choice questions. True false, multiple choice, etc. are all okay with us! Be sure to include the answers in your comment so that the full question can be used for the quiz!

Why are we asking for trivia? We’re going to put together the ultimate “How well do you know Eragon?” quiz and want to make sure our trivia is as good as it gets! Any reader who submits trivia that is used in the quiz will be credited on the website, offering you the bragging rights of being known of one of the biggest Eragon buffs out there!

Please leave your trivia in the comments of this post.

 

It’s hard to believe that we’re already at the end of the fifth week of Paolini.net! The Paolini family opened with a “bang”, releasing over twelve new articles in addition to over a dozen articles and pages on the website at its launch. This week saw the release of two new educational articles, a video from Christopher discussing when he’ll return to the world of Alagaesia, and a new article exploring various works that helped inspire the Inheritance Cycle. Here’s a summary of this past week’s Paolini.net content:

“Christopher Discusses When He’ll Return to the World of Alagaësia” – Christopher discusses the most common question of all: When will he return to Alagaësia? The video sheds some light on Christopher’s recent projects, his insane amount of planned Alagaësia books, and more. This is a must-watch for any Inheritance fan!

“Stories That Inspired the Inheritance Cycle: Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher” – This article introduces readers to a story that had a tremendous impact on Eragon and the Inheritance Cycle. Learn how this book inspired Christopher and find a new book to enjoy!

“The Early Years: Tips for Teaching Reading and Writing from Infancy through Grade 1″ – Parents of young children and homeschoolers may find this new educational article from Talita Paolini to be handy!

“Fifty Writing Prompts for Students” – Homeschoolers and parents alike can find lots of great writing ideas in this Paolini.net educational article. Continue reading this article…

 

10-16 qa headerChristopher regularly interacts with fans via his official Twitter account, where he shares fun things he discovers on the internet, random musings, and cryptic updates on his latest projects. Last night, Christopher offered fans the opportunity to ask him any questions within a fifteen minute time frame and offered to answer as many as possible. The resulting responses contained some very exciting information on Book 5, two potential prequels, Angela, progress on his sci-fi book, a major revelation about the new book’s universe, and writing advice!

Here are all of his questions/answers:

Book 5

Book 5?
Yes, Book V eventually. Always intended to write it. Gotta finish the sci-fi book I’m on first, though.

Book 5: Will it be a prequel, spin off, or another Eragon/Roran book?
It’ll be a sequel. And you’ve met the main character already.

Will Eragon return to Alagaesia? Is it possible that it wasn’t his time to go – that he went too soon?
That’s a wonderful thought…. No comment. :D

Are eggs in Saphira’s future now that she has -ahem- hooked up, so to speak?
Ahem. I would never talk about the private business of a lady dragon like that. But … perhaps.

Will you be writing more about the Urgal Dragon Riders?
Yup.

Other Alagaesia Books (Prequels, etc.)

Would you ever write a book about the adventures of Brom?
Perhaps. It’s something I’ve considered. Would make a good book, I think.

Will we ever see the Adventures of Angela the Herbalist?
Heh. As long as I don’t kick the bucket first. Love her character.

Will there ever be a book about the Fall of the Riders?
Perhaps. It would be told from Brom’s point of view.

The Sci-fi Book

How is the sci-fi book progressing?
Writing is going well. Doing five pages a day right now.

Any hint as to when your sci-fi book will hit store shelves?
As soon as possible!!!!

Is your sci-fi book staying in the same universe [as Alagaesia] or is it a whole new universe?
It’s our universe but set in an imagined future…. WHOA!!! SPOILER!

General Inheritance Cycle Information

What is one thing you wish you could have added to the original Inheritance Cycle?
A little more time with Saphira growing up and Feldûnost in Book I.

What is Angela?
WHAT? I think you mean … WHO? Hmm. What does that remind me of? [...] She’s not who you think she is.

Why did Brom have to die?
Because otherwise he would have kept doing things for Eragon, and Eragon wouldn’t have grown up.

Would you want the Inheritance Cycle (re)made into movies like Lord of the Rings? (The Eragon movie was a disappointment.)
Yes please. More movies!!! (Someone get on this.)

Miscelaneous Questions

Which is a harder genre to write in, sci-fi or fantasy?
Sci-fi, because the numbers can’t be faked… No wait, fantasy … Uhh. They’re both equally hard.

What is your biggest dream?
To tell the stories I want to, drive my enemies before me, and hear the lamentations of the trolls.

How many books do you already have completely planned out?
Uhh … (counts fingers) … 20-30?

Writing Advice

I never struggle with the beginnings or endings of my books while writing, but I always struggle with the middle. Do you have any advice?
Ask yourself what would logically happen next. Talk it out with friends. Write outlines. Keep asking questions.

Do you have any advice on getting my book published?
Read a bunch of info online, and don’t sign any contract without knowing exactly what you’re getting into.

I’ve been thinking about writing a book, and I have some ideas already. I just wrote some down in my notepad. Any tips?
Keep asking yourself questions and see how the story develops.

As always, be sure to follow Christopher on Twitter for the latest news, updates, and revelations. You’ll never know what he’ll share next! The Paolini family can be found on Twitter at @PaoliniOfficial, Angela Paolini can be found at @Angela_Paolini, and Talita Paolini can be found at @TalitaPaolini.

Now we ask: What answers from Christopher’s latest interview session did you enjoy the most? What do you think Christopher’s Book 5 answers are pointing to for Book 5 plots? Who will be the main character of Book 5? Which of Christopher’s other Alagaesia book ideas would you like to see the most? Let us know in the comments!

 

brewfest-header-2Brewfest celebrations are well underway! For those of you who may be new to the latest Alagaesia holiday, let us catch you up: we tasked our readers with helping us invent a new holiday set within the world of Alagaesia. The holiday is loosely based around the October “Oktoberfest” celebrations across the world, where revelers come together to celebrate, usually drinking beer, eating brats, and more:

Brewfest originated as two separate holidays meant to celebrate the fall season and the year’s harvest. The elves first began to celebrate the changing of the trees as fall began to take hold, venturing into the forests to celebrate the life within. Tea is their brew of choice, as many elves work to concoct new beverages, bring back prior years’ favorites, and challenge each other in friendly games and competitions. The dwarves – well, their holiday is a bit more rowdy, loud, and entertaining. Alcohol starts and ends the day, as do games and good food. Merriment can be found echoing throughout the Beor Mountains and Tronjheim.

Over the years, the humans began to pull from and combine the two races’ traditions to form their own Brewfest celebrations. Dragon Riders would travel long and far to celebrate, and their dragons always joined in on the festivities.

Today’s post explores some food and drink enjoyed during the celebration and various games played by the revelers across Alagaesia! Let us know what you think of today’s content, and be sure to share your own short stories, lore, and ideas based around the holiday for a chance to be included in our next post! (The next post will focus on lore and stories, so be sure to submit your content before the weekend! You can submit your content in the comments or by emailing it to feedback@shurtugal.com!) Continue reading this article…

 

Grimrr Halfpaw — “King of the Werecats, Lord of the Lonely Places, Ruler of the Night Reaches and He Who Walks Alone” — was first introduced to readers in Inheritance. His character is as mysterious as readers have come to expect from the elusive race of werecats, offering up little information about himself other than his immediate disdain for Angela and Solembum and his race’s allegiance in the war against Galbatorix and the Empire.

“[T]hrough the doorway strode Grimrr Halfpaw in the shape of a human, trailed by four other werecats, who padded close behind him on large, shaggy paws. [...] Grimrr, however, looked unlike any person or creature Eragon had ever seen. At roughly four feet tall, he was the same height as a dwarf, but no one could have mistaken him for a dwarf, or even for a human. He had a small pointed chin, wide cheekbones, and, underneath upswept brows, slanted green eyes fringed with winglike eyelashes. His ragged black hair hung low over his forehead, while on the sides and back it fell to his shoulders, where it lay smooth and lustrous, much like the manes of his companions. His age was impossible for Eragon to guess.”

DeviantArt artist ImCarla worked on a character study, hoping to capture the likeness of the King of the Werecats before finally illustrating her final interpretation of the character in color. To the delight of fans, Christopher Paolini commented on the final illustration as being “very close” to what he imagined the character to look like, allowing us to finally realize Grimrr’s human form:

grimrrfinishedImCarla also offered a glimpse into her character study process, which included many iterations of the character’s eyes, body, and face:

So now we ask: Is this how you imagined Grimrr Halfpaw?

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